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Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) | Eligibility, Benefits & How to Apply ?


Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)


What is the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program ?


The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a federal aid programme for low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children. By offering assistance throughout a crucial stage of development, WIC aims to boost a child's growth and development and prevent problems with their health.

Their goal is to collaborate with other essential services for the wellbeing of children and families. A family's income must be less than 185% of the federal poverty threshold in order to qualify. The majority of states permit automatic income eligibility, which allows a person or family receiving benefits from programmes like Medicaid, TANF or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to automatically fulfil the standards for eligibility. 53 percent of all newborns born in the United States are currently served by WIC.
 
The Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5. The WIC Program works to protect them who are at risk for malnutrition. WIC is essential in preserving the health of its target population since homes with children are much more likely to experience food insecurity (20%) than households without children (11.9%). To protect low-income women, babies, and children living with, or at risk of developing, nutrition-related health issues, the programme offers nourishing foods, nutrition and breastfeeding instruction, and healthcare access.

Goal of WIC Program


The Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program has following roles :
  • WIC seeks to promote the health of young children under the age of five as well as pregnant and nursing women.
  • to learn whether a youngster needs immunizations and advise the parents of this requirement.
  • to fulfill the very minimum requirements for immunization screening and referral protocols, without substituting for the duties of the State Immunization Program.
  • should put other steps into place in order to boost WIC kids' vaccination rates.

Key Facts of Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program


  • Since 1974, pregnant women and new mothers have had access to food, food vouchers, nutritional support, and education under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • WIC provides assistance to qualified pregnant, nursing, or postpartum mothers as well as infants and kids up to age five.
  • WIC provides benefits to over 50% of babies born in the US.
  • WIC participants have healthier infants, better nutrition, and higher rates of child immunisation, according to numerous studies.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which also manages the school breakfast and lunch programmes, administers the WIC programme.
  • For purchases made at any WIC retailer that accepts them, benefits are placed onto a WIC card. The card has all of the family's benefits put on it.
  • WIC offers a monthly subsidy to purchase wholesome foods from recognised retailers.
  • Milk, cheese, yoghurt, eggs, dry beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and baby foods are examples of healthy dietary options.
  • Working families can take advantage of WIC's convenient hours, which include evenings, early mornings, and weekends.
  • Height, weight, and haemoglobin levels are measured as part of the participants' health exams. Screening for lead is also offered.
  • There are breastfeeding peer counsellors on hand. Manual or electric breast pumps can be obtained from WIC as needed.
  • Children as young as three receive Fit WIC kits and materials to encourage daily physical activity.

How Does the WIC Nutrition Program Works ?


The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was initially made legal by Section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, one of many financial aid programmes that the federal government has enacted legislation for throughout the years.

Only families with incomes up to 185 percent of the poverty threshold are eligible. WIC, however, cannot assist more individuals than it is able to pay for; it is not an entitlement programme. The annual appropriations procedure determines funding each year.

The USDA's Food and Nutrition Service manages WIC, and state WIC agencies handle local WIC administration. Those who qualify receive monthly food packages that are intended to supplement the nutrients that the target population's diets often lack. On the basis of suggestions from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the WIC food package was recently revised to comply with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Additionally, WIC offers recommendations for medical services as well as nutrition counselling on good eating.

WIC is an additional food programme for pregnant or nursing women, babies, and kids. WIC offers services to assist our various populations in addressing their health requirements throughout pregnancy, after delivery, and in early life, such as:
  • Health screening
  • Help getting other services
  • Breastfeeding promotion and support
  • Nutrition and health education
  • Monthly benefits for nutritious food

How is Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program Funded ?


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in charge of the WIC programme. It is a domestic discretionary programme that is yearly funded by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees of the United States. For the Federal fiscal year, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) creates the yearly budget request for WIC (Oct 1-Sept 30). Congress sets the amount of funding for the Program each year through the funding process. Grants are given to each state after the appropriation is approved by Congress and becomes law. County and city health centres or private NGOs are responsible for administering the funds locally in each state.

Who is Eligible for Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program ?


Receiving WIC benefits does not require participants to be enrolled in another aid programme. You must fulfill the following requirements in order to be eligible for WIC Nutrition Program :
  • Infants and children from birth to age 5.
  • Parents, step-parents, guardians, and foster parents of infants and children who are younger than 5.
  • Pregnant (during their pregnancy and up to six weeks after birth or at the end of the pregnancy)
  • Postpartum (up to six months after the end of the pregnancy)
  • Breastfeeding (up until the child turns one)
  • Must be a citizen of the state in which they are requesting assistance.
  • Should provide evidence of both residency and income.
  • Must have a trained health expert do a nutritional risk assessment (physician, nurse, or nutritionist).
  • It varies by state and must be at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level. A person is deemed qualified if they can show documentation of eligibility for TANF, Medicaid, or Food Stamps.
A health care provider must examine applicants to ascertain whether they are at nutritional risk. This frequently takes place in the WIC clinic without charging the applicant.

WIC Income Limits 2022-2023 


No. of People in Household

Maximum Annual Income

Maximum Monthly Income

2

$33,874

$2,823

3

$42,606

$3,551

4

$51,338

$4,279

5

$60,070

$5,006

6

$68,802

$5,734

7

$77,534

$6,462


Benefits Provided by Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program


WIC women are eligible to get free food, including beans, cereal, cheese, eggs, infant formula, juice, milk, and peanut butter, much of it farm surplus. Additionally, they get coupons to use at farmers' markets to purchase produce that is WIC-approved. Education and support for breastfeeding, nutrition education and counselling, and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services are all included in the services offered.

What are WIC Approved Foods ?


In order to meet participants' dietary needs and promote their overall well-being and development, WIC offers a variety of nutritious foods. View a list of WIC Foods, acceptable substitutions, and the essential nutrients they offer.
Foods rich in protein, calcium, iron, or vitamins A and C, such as the following, are advantageous:
  • Baby food
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Infant cereal
  • Whole grain foods
  • 100% fruit juice with vitamin C
  • Cheeses
  • Dried beans, peas and lentils
  • Cereals fortified with iron
  • Eggs
  • Canned fish (for pregnant and breastfeeding women)
  • Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables (cash vouchers: $24 for children, $43 for pregnant and postpartum women, and $47 for breastfeeding women through September 2022)
  • Iron-fortified baby formula (for babies who are not breastfed)

What is eWIC Cards ?


The Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) programme now offers food benefits via the new computerised system known as eWIC. WIC participants formerly utilised paper vouchers to buy permitted items. Participants in the new system may use an eWIC card. Foods that are WIC-approved can be purchased at grocery stores that take WIC with your eWIC card. The benefits for your family will be added to your eWIC account by your local agency. The distribution of the new cards will take place in phases. Up until they get an eWIC card, participants can still use paper vouchers. The local agencies will inform participating WIC households about eWIC.

How Much Does WIC Pay Per Month ?


WIC offers an average of $62 per participant each month to spend on nutritious food. Participants who are pregnant can earn an additional $40 in EatSF fruit and vegetable coupons each month.

How to Apply for Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) ?


WIC is available to all types of families, including those with married and single parents as well as those who are employed or not. You can apply for WIC for your child if you are the father, mother, grandparent, foster parent, or another type of legal guardian of a child under the age of five.

To schedule an appointment to apply for the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC), call your local agency.

You have the option of starting your application online or via phone. Each applicant for WIC benefits must visit the local agency to submit their application in person.

For each person applying for the programme, you must bring the following forms of identification when you visit your local WIC clinic :
  • Identification document (birth certificate, driver's licence, social security card, or vaccination record).
  • Utility bill or receipt, rent or mortgage receipt, or letter with your name and current address as proof of residency.
  • Evidence of Income for the Family (paycheck stubs, SNAP eligibility letter, TANF eligibility letter, or a bank statement).
  • You can use other documents as well. For additional information, get in touch with the WIC office or the local health department.
  • Call (all locations) : 832-393-5427

Automatic WIC Registration


The following programmes eligible participants may be automatically enrolled in WIC :

Apply for WIC in your State of Residence


The USDA provides a list of state WIC programme offices, phone numbers, and websites. Applications might also be accessible at migrant health centres and camps, Native American health services facilities, hospitals, schools, mobile clinics, community centres, and public housing locations.

Statement of Non-Discrimination


This institution is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, or handicap, in compliance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy. Write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or phone 800.795.3272 (voice) or  202.720.6382 (TTY) to report discrimination.  Both as an employer and a provider, USDA values diversity.

Call Center WIC


Do you have a question, need to make an appointment, or need to reschedule one? Utilize our easy-to-use WIC phone centre. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, the WIC phone centre is open (closed from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and our kind, knowledgeable staff can provide information, book appointments, change them, give directions, and recommend other services.
  • Call (toll-free) 1-855-262-7670 to reach WIC customers in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Liberty, and Long.
  • Call 912-289-1810 for WIC clients in Glynn and McIntosh counties.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)


Who Administers Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program ?
Although the programme is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), each state distributes funds in accordance with its own eligibility requirements. WIC enrols around half of all infants in the United States.

What Are the Advantages of Enrolling in WIC ?
According to research, women who take part in the programme give birth to babies who have higher rates of infancy survival. Infant feeding techniques and foods are better for mothers. By age 2, children's cerebral growth is greater, and they eventually acquire stronger reading skills and higher immunization rates.

What about fathers under WIC ?
Children under the age of five can be enrolled in the WIC programme by their fathers. Fathers can accompany their kids to checkups, go to nutrition lessons, and apply for benefits just like any other parent or guardian.

How long am I allowed to use WIC ?
If you meet the nutrition and income requirements :
  • Children and infants can stay on WIC until they turn 5.
  • Women who are pregnant receive WIC food benefits until the end of their pregnancy.
  • WIC food benefits are provided to mothers who are exclusively or partially nursing up until the child turns one.
  • WIC food benefits are provided to mothers who exclusively or primarily breastfeed until their child is 6 months old.

What does Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program offer ?
To accomplish this, WIC offers:
  • A monthly benefit to purchase wholesome food.
  • Personalized advice and assistance with nutrition.
  • Support for breastfeeding, such as private therapy with a mother who has nursed.
  • Recommendations for family-friendly services.

How can I access my WIC account to receive benefits ?
The WIC team will add your benefits to your family's eWIC account at your WIC appointment. A list of your family's WIC advantages for the following three months will be given to you. Your benefits' beginning and ending dates will be on the list.

Who should I speak with if I experience issues with my eWIC card ?
  • Speak to the WIC agency workers in your area.
  • Visit the customer service counter at your store.
  • Dial 1-844-540-3013 to reach eWIC Card Customer Service.
  • Visit the WIC Connect website.

Can I reuse my eWIC card ?
Yes, keep your eWIC card and bring it with you to every appointment.

How will I shop with my eWIC card ?
Utilizing your WIC shopping list, benefit balance, and Foods Guide, select WIC foods.
  • Select a WIC-accepting checkout line.
  • Declare that you are using an eWIC card to the cashier.
  • Prior to other foods, arrange your WIC products.
  • Enter your 4-digit PIN once you swipe your eWIC card.
  • For non-WIC items, use a different form of payment.
  • For your subsequent WIC purchasing trip, save the store receipt and eWIC card.
  • The procedures could change from store to store.

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